Spartans hold Wildcats to lowest points total in 17-year Big Ten tourney history

INDIANAPOLIS -- The last time Michigan State played Northwestern, the Spartans allowed Amy Jaeschke to score 25 points.

That's how many points Jaeschke's entire team scored in the rematch.

The 11th-ranked Spartans turned in a record-setting defensive performance Friday to defeat Northwestern 56-25 in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals. Top-seeded Michigan State (26-4) held the Wildcats to the lowest points total in the 17-year history of the tournament.

Michigan set the previous low, scoring 37 points in a quarterfinals loss to Iowa in 2008.

"I was proud of our team defensively," Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant said. "Today, I thought we were very, very solid."

Porsche Poole scored 11 points and Brittney Thomas and Lykendra Johnson each scored 10 points for the Spartans, whose dominant defensive effort made up for 42 percent shooting.

Jaeschke and Allison Mocchi led Northwestern (18-13) with six points each. Jaeschke, who averaged 22 points per game, was held to single digits for the first time this season.

"They played some great defense, you know, really rattled us, especially me," Jaeschke said. "They did a great job fronting me and not letting me get comfortable at all during the game."

Northwestern shot 22 percent from the field, committed 23 turnovers and missed all 16 of its 3-point shots. Michigan State barely missed the largest margin of victory in tournament history.

Northwestern committed five turnovers in the first four minutes as Michigan State jumped out to a 7-0 lead. The Wildcats rallied while Michigan State went cold from the field, cutting its deficit to three with several chances to edge closer -- but failed each time.

The Spartans closed the half on a 6-1 run to take a 22-14 lead at the break.

Michigan State continued its dominant defensive effort early in the second half, and Northwestern made just one of its first seven shots after the break to fall behind 28-16.

Jaeschke caught Michigan State's Kalisha Keane with an elbow to the face with 14:19 left, and it was called an intentional foul. Minutes later, Thomas made a 3-pointer to spark a 19-0 run that gave the Spartans a 49-19 lead.

The Wildcats went scoreless for 6 minutes during the run.

"We just didn't execute our game plan the way we should have," Jaeschke said, "and instead of answering their aggressiveness, we kind of backed down."